A zero-waste 2020 is yours for the taking if you make small but sustainable swaps throughout the year. But first, don’t forget to read about how to prepare yourself for a zero-waste lifestyle. Once you’re prepped, think of how many of these changes you can implement this coming year.
- Ditch plastic packaging wherever possible. Switch to glass and stainless-steel containers instead.
- Switch from disposable paper packaging to more reusable versions like cloth napkins and towels.
- Say no to toxic Styrofoam. Carry around reusable cutlery and containers. If you must use single-use options, as for compostable paper plates, bowls and cups.
- Minimise food waste by repurposing food scraps into jams and sauces. Meal plan so you’re not buying more food than you need, food that will eventually end up in a dustbin.
- Get a compost system in your garden. Learn the art of composting and use your food waste as food for your garden as well.
- Install a compost bin in your house if you don’t have enough space outdoors. Vermicomposting allows you to quickly transform your organic waste into usable compost.
- Find a composter near you if composting at home is not an option. Put your food waste in a compostable trash bag and drop it off at a local composting centre (or get it collected).
- Donate your used cooking oil. Pouring it down the drain cause clogs and makes your sewage hard to manage, and composting is not an option. However, there are centres that accept old cooking oil to be recycled into biodiesel fuel.
- Avoid single-use plastic bags and #banthebag from your lives. Start using bags made from canvas, cloth or even recycled plastic.
- Stop buying single-serving products. Buy in bulk or bigger portions and then divide them into smaller eco-friendly containers you can refill whenever you need.
- Shop at local stores where they sell bulk loose provisions such as rice, pasta, lentils, and grains. Carry glass and steel containers with you and refill instead of buying single serves wrapped in plastic.
- Create your own eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner instead of going for chemical-heavy ones. Combine half a cup of white distilled vinegar with one cup of water, 20 drops of tea tree, lavender, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. It works wonders. If you have to go for industrial-strength cleaners, again, buy in bulk or refill from a bulk loose items store.
- Go back to basics and bring in a packed lunch and your own utensils. Take away packages generate over 100 pounds of trash per person per year. Imagine how much lesser waste you’ll generate by just bringing your own food. Eating a home-cooked meal will also help you stay healthier in 2020. So, a win-win.
- Buy a metal or glass water bottle that you can refill instead of going for plastic water bottles.
- Invest in a water purifier (think HomePure). Filtering your water at home not only saves you money but reduces the amount of plastic waste you’d create when you order plastic water bottles.
- Segregate your waste. Keeping them separate helps make it easier to recycle or reuse them, stopping it from being cross-contaminated and therefore unsalvageable.
- Recycle everything you can, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, tin, aluminium. Find local recycling agencies and donate to them.
- Teach yourself repairing skills and fix your gadgets at home instead of throwing them out. If that’s not possible, befriend a local repair shop and get their help. See if you can organise a repair café once a month, call a technician and get your neighbourhood to bring in their electronics to be fixed for a small fee.
- Switch to zero-waste toiletries. Go back to bar soaps, try out the new shampoo bars that give you the juice of seven shampoo bottles, and pick that bamboo toothbrush.
- Focus on giving gifts that are experiences rather than things. Invest in some quality time instead of a thing that will get put on your showcase or worse, regifted!
It’ll take you time to build an entirely waste-free lifestyle, but by pledging to live a zero-waste 2020, you’re taking the first big step towards it. By adopting this lifestyle and mentality, you will save money by reducing unnecessary purchases and ultimately reducing your own ecological footprint, and leaving the world a better place for the next generation. What are you waiting for? Add a few of these changes to your ‘To-Do’ list, and let’s live a greener 2020!
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